How to Lighten Up Your Favorite Holiday Dishes

I love the holidays! I love getting together with family, warm fires, cozy clothes, and, of course, all the amazing food. One thing for sure, though, is that my pants will get tight real quick if I allow myself to indulge in all the rich dishes too often!

Because so many gatherings focus around food this time of year, I thought I’d share a few easy swaps you can to make some of your favorite dishes a bit healthier while still keeping all the flavor.



  • Get creative with your veggies. Buffalo cauliflower, veggies and healthy dips, and zucchini tots are all fun ways to work in more produce.
  • When recipes call for sour cream, swap for Greek yogurt. It tastes exactly the same and offers a lot more lean protein with none of the saturated fat.
  • Instead of purchasing candied nuts, roast them yourself with simple savory spices as suggested by this super easy recipe that has a lot less sugar!


  • Going to brunch? Bring some simple egg cups – you could lighten up on the saturated fat and calories by leaving out a few of the yolks while adding plenty of veggies for color an fiber.
  • If you aren’t baking, you can literally cut the portion of fat in half. Literally! You won’t even miss it. When it comes to ingredients like butter and cheese, I often find I can get away with using a fraction of what’s called for without compromising the taste. Get creative with spices to jazz up the flavor.
  • Displace some of the carbs for more veggies! This stuffing recipe does just that by mincing extra veggies to add more vitamins and fiber while lowering the total calories.

Desserts/Baked Goods:

  • Make portion friendly desserts. Instead of serving a slice of cheesecake, consider bite size options instead! Or, you could try something a little more fruit focused, like a berry crisp with a light crumble on top.
  • Substitute applesauce for some or all of the oil. If you want to make a quick bread for an easy offering, swap out the oil for applesauce instead. Better yet – cut the sugar the recipe calls for in half, especially if you are making banana bread. If the bananas are super ripe, there’s enough sweetness as is.
  • Substitute all or even a portion of heavy cream for low fat milk.






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